Irrigation may guarantee a decent crop and predictable cash flow, but it also guarantees tonnes of residue that will dig into that cash flow.
Aaron Vanee farms four quarters of irrigated land near Brooks, Alta., where he grows canola, flax, wheat, seed alfalfa and big piles of residue.
Three years ago, he decided to take a new approach to his residue problem and attack it with a four-metre Lemken Karat 9.
The Karat 9 is usually associated with potato production in Western Canada, but Vanee said it also does an excellent job handling crop residue.
“I just wanted something heavy duty for primary tillage. The Karat has 1,500 pound trips, levelling discs and double rolling baskets at the back. It has all the tools I need and it does everything I need,” he said.
“I make just one pass in the fall, but I wouldn’t say I can do single pass seed bed preparation with the Karat. I make a final pass for seed bed preparation with a Heliodor disc, either in the fall or spring, either way depending on conditions.
“I paid a little extra to get the quick change option. I think most people buy it that way. There’s a spring loaded pin holding the shanks in place. When you want to change your in-ground working tools, you just flip the spring, the pin pops out and the tool drops to the ground. It’s so simple and doesn’t waste a lot of time.”
Seven working tools are available from Lemken, but Vanee bought only the narrow spike and a four inch spike with wings. He said the spikes don’t really chop the residue as much as bury it.
“The vigorous mixing that goes on back there is tremendous,” he said.
“It does a real good job of incorporating even the heaviest residue I might have here. Once the residue is buried, the soil bacteria get to work to break it down.
“I bought the three point hitch model because I like to use the down force of my tractor if I need it. I have a hydraulic top link to the Karat. I like the adjustability I have this way. Everything is set from in the cab.”
Vanee pulls the four metre cultivator with a 205 power take-off horsepower, front-wheel assist tractor.
Vanee paid $26,000 for the Karat three years ago, when the Canadian dollar was stronger compared to the euro.
For more information, contact Lemken representative Ivor Bernatsky at 403-782-5580 or visit lemken.ca/cultivators.php?L=en.